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UCL IEDE academics win a medal for their paper on integrated building performance evaluation

8 February 2022

Researchers from the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering have won the Barker Silver Medal, awarded by CIBSE for the most cited paper and impact published in Building Services Research and Technology (BSER&T) Journal during 2020.

Line of trees next to a building with people under a long path cover

The paper was titled ‘Balancing energy and indoor environmental quality in a UK school’ and was published in BSER&T in 2020. It was authored by a multi-disciplinary team covering researchers in energy, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustics – Dr. Nishesh Jain (lead author), Dr. Esfand Burman, Dr. Craig Robertson, Dr, Samuel Stamp, Dr. Clive Shrubsole, Dr. Francesco Aletta, Dr. Edward Barrett, Dr. Tin Oberman, Prof. Jian Kang, Prof. Peter Raynham, Prof. Dejan Mumovic and Prof. Mike Davies.

This paper reported on a holistic building performance evaluation in a recently built school campus in London. It assessed the performance issues and inter-relationships between energy and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ).

Analysing metering and monitoring data along with feedback from the stakeholders, the study showed that if building design focuses primarily on energy, it may lead to unintended consequence for IEQ. An integrated design approach to energy and environmental performance is required to balance the intricate, and sometimes conflicting, relation between these performance objectives. 

UCL IEDE Research Associate Dr Nishesh Jain said:

We are delighted to have been awarded this medal by CIBSE and pleased that our work is being acknowledged by the research community and is useful for them to build their work to collectively move the field forward. This reflects the quality of impactful research and interdisciplinary collaboration carried out at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE).”

The work provided lessons relevant across the building industry for the delivery of low-carbon and healthy buildings and was done with the support of AHMM architects, the company which was responsible for the building’s architecture. 

Dr Craig Robertson, Associate and head of sustainability at AHMM talked about the transformation of Burntwood School and how it pieces together a 1950s modernist eduction campus for 2000 pupils and 200 staff in south-west London. Within an existing mature landscape, six new buildings-as-pavilions develop the heritage of the existing, orchestrating a system of bespoke constructional components to bring both efficiency and delight. The new buildings – four 4-storey teaching pavilions, a new sports hall and a new performing arts building – are placed amongst a number of retained buildings to form a complete and coherent campus, with lawns, squares and a central pedestrian spine. 

Within each pavilion, classrooms and ancillary accommodation are arranged along a central corridor with voids and double-height spaces at each end to increase natural daylight and make connections to the exterior. The regularity of each plan is followed through to the elevation with faceted precast concrete panels that correspond to a 7.5 metre structural and classroom module; a development of the prefabricated façade work seen at earlier AHMM projects. Burntwood School won the RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for architecture.

Dr Robertson concluded:

Working with UCL to understand the performance of such an important building has proved to be invaluable. The work has provided AHMM with lessons that can be applied across all future projects in design, construction and use, as well as the basis for future research.”

The Barker Silver Medal is awarded by CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) to celebrate high impact papers that achieve significant number of citations. The award indicates the importance and acceptance of published work within the community of building services engineering. This work was cited in 10+ papers in 2020-2021 – one of the highest levels of citations in BSER&T, CIBSE’s peer reviewed Journal for building services related research.

The medal will be presented at the CIBSE President’s Awards Dinner on 11th February 2022.

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Image credit: Tim Soar